Lewitzky Dance Company records Edit


Finding Aid Author
Sarah Guidas, Rebecca Hirsch, Stacey King and Philip Meyer
Finding Aid Date
Description Rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Collection processing and creation of the finding aid was funded by the generous support of the National Historic Publications and Records Commission.


  • 1932-2010 (Creation)
  • bulk (Creation)


  • 305 Linear Feet (Whole)

Agent Links



  • Biographical Note

    Bella Lewitzky was born January 13, 1916, in Los Angeles to Russian immigrants. She spent her early childhood in a utopian socialist community in the Mojave Desert before moving with her family to Los Angeles. In 1934, she joined Lester Horton's modern dance company. She rapidly ascended the ranks of Horton's company from novice dancer to lead dancer. On June 22, 1940, she married fellow Horton dancer and architect Newell Reynolds. In 1946, she and Horton founded the Dance Theater of Los Angeles.

    In 1955, Lewitzky gave birth to her and Reynolds' only daughter, Nora, who would also dance for the Lewitzky Dance Company (founded in 1966). Over the next 31 years, the Company produced over 50 dances and toured extensively throughout North America and the world. Lewitzky herself danced in many of the company's productions until she stopped dancing professionally in 1978.

    In 1989, she was awarded the California Governor's Award for Lifetime Acheivement; in 1996, she was named a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts' National Medal of Arts. Lewitzky was also actively involved in the 1984 Olympic Arts Festival and the efforts to build a venue called The Dance Gallery in downtown Los Angeles.

    Lewitzky passed away on July 16, 2004 in Pasadena, California.

  • Historical Note

    The Lewitzky Dance Company was founded in 1966 by Bella Lewitzky and produced more than 50 dance productions over its period of activity. The Company, under the direction of Lewitzky, its Artistic Director, and Larry Attaway, its Music Director, was known for its intellectual approach to dance with a particular emphasis on kinetic movement in space and the relationship between different forms of art. The company toured extensively, visiting 43 U.S. states and 20 foreign countries. In 1990, the Company rejected a $72,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in protest of a line that requires grantees to promise not to create obscene work. The Company would ultimately receive the grant after Lewitzky sued the agency and had the clause removed. On May 17, 1997, the Lewitzky Dance Company gave its last performance after 31 years of activity.

  • Scope and Content

    The Lewitzky Dance Company records contains photographs, audio and video recordings, costumes, and documents from the roughly 50-year period of activity of the Lewitzky Dance Company. Sound and video recordings and photographs document the hundreds of performances, rehearsals, and demonstrations. There is also a large collection of programs and posters from the Company's productions, booking contracts, internal documents, financial statements, press clippings, and correspondences. Some parts of the collection relate to Lewitzky's personal life and professional activity outside of the Company, including the Olympic Arts Festival and The Dance Gallery. Also included in this collection are Lewitzky's personal papers and papers produced and/or donated after the dissolution of the company in 1997.

  • Abstract

    Based in Los Angeles, California, the Lewitzky Dance Company was formed in 1966 by Bella Lewitzky and gave its last performance on May 18, 1997. The archive consists of papers, films, photographs, costumes, programs, posters, stage plots, and sound recordings. It covers the Company's archived and working papers from all offices, including the Manager, Booking and Production offices.

  • Conditions Governing Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE. Advance notice required for access.

  • Conditions Governing Use

    The collection contains published materials; researchers are reminded of the copyright restrictions imposed by publishers on reusing their articles and parts of books. It is the responsibility of researchers to acquire permission from publishers when reusing such materials. The copyright to unpublished materials belongs to the heirs of the writers. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

  • Preferred Citation

    [Item/Box/Folder number], Lewitzky Dance Company records, Collection no. 0203, Special Collections, USC Libraries, University of Southern California

  • Processing Information

    The Lewitzky Dance Company Archive was initially processed by Melinda Hayes upon its acquisition by USC in 1997. In the summer of 2011, it was reprocessed and this finding aid was produced by Rebecca Hirsch (Project Archivist), Sarah Guidas, Stacey King and Philip Meyer.

  • Acquisition

    Gift of Bella Lewitzky, June 30, 1997.

  • Related Archival Materials

    Rudy Perez Archive, Collection no. 0309, Special Collections, USC Libraries, University of Southern California